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Wholesale trade, November 2014

Released: 2015-01-21

Wholesale sales declined 0.3% to $54.0 billion in November, following two consecutive monthly gains. Decreases were recorded in three of seven subsectors, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, and were partially offset by higher sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were down 0.3%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Wholesale sales decline in November - Description and data table
Wholesale sales decline in November

Chart 1: Wholesale sales decline in November - Description and data table

Lower sales in three subsectors

Following three consecutive monthly gains, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector recorded the largest decrease in dollar terms, with sales declining 2.8% to $11.3 billion in November. The construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (-3.5%) and the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (-8.6%) were the largest contributors to the decrease. For both of these industries, the decline in November did not offset the gains recorded in the previous three months.

Sales decreased 1.7% to $7.9 billion in the building material and supplies subsector, its first decline in 2014. All industries in the subsector posted declines, led by the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry (-3.6%).

The farm product subsector fell 7.3% to $763 million, its second-highest level on record.

The motor vehicles and parts subsector rose 2.8% to $9.5 billion, partially offsetting the declines recorded in other subsectors. The motor vehicle industry (+2.7%) accounted for most of the gain in this subsector.

The food, beverage and tobacco subsector rose 0.5% to $10.3 billion as a result of higher sales in the beverage industry (+6.8%) and the food industry (+0.2%).

Sales increased 0.4% to $7.3 billion in the personal and household goods subsector. The toiletries, cosmetics and sundries industry (+6.9%) led the gain, posting its first increase in five months.

Sales down in three provinces

In November, wholesale sales declined in three provinces, with Ontario leading the decrease.

Following seven consecutive monthly increases, sales in Ontario were down 1.0% to $26.3 billion. The building material and supplies subsector, and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector were the largest contributors to the decline.

Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador fell 9.3% to $420 million, a second consecutive monthly decrease. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector led the decline.

Quebec sales decreased 0.4% to $9.8 billion, a second consecutive monthly decrease. Lower sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributed to the decline.

Saskatchewan recorded a fourth consecutive monthly increase as sales rose 3.5% to $2.3 billion on the strength of gains in the miscellaneous subsector, and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.

Inventories edge up in November

Inventories edged up 0.1% in November to $68.2 billion, an 11th consecutive monthly increase. Gains were recorded in three of seven subsectors, representing 41% of wholesale inventories.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Wholesale inventories edge up in November - Description and data table
Wholesale inventories edge up in November

Chart 2: Wholesale inventories edge up in November - Description and data table

The building material and supplies subsector (+1.2%) recorded the largest gain in dollar terms, a ninth consecutive monthly increase. Inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+1.0%) also rose for a ninth consecutive month in November.

Following three consecutive monthly increases, inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector declined 0.9%.

The inventory-to-sales ratio remained at 1.26 in November. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.



  Note to readers

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted and in current dollars, unless otherwise noted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Total wholesale sales expressed in volume are calculated by deflating current dollar values using relevant price indexes. The wholesale sales series in chained (2007) dollars is a chained Fisher volume index with 2007 as the reference year. For more information, see Sales in volume for Wholesale Trade.

The Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey covers all industries within the wholesale sector as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), with the exception of oilseed and grain merchant wholesalers (NAICS 41112), petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (NAICS 412) and business-to-business electronic markets, and agents and brokers (NAICS 419).

The November 2014 issue of Wholesale Trade (Catalogue number63-008-X) will soon be available.

Wholesale trade data for December 2014 will be released on February 18, 2015.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

For analytical information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Stephanie Ventresca (613-301-2127; stephanie.ventresca@statcan.gc.ca) or Elspeth Hazell (613-951-8090; elspeth.hazell@statcan.gc.ca), Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade Division.

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